“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope…”
– Robert F. Kennedy
There have been times in the world’s history where great men and women have stepped into these roles with the sole motivation to make a difference and change the world as much as they could. Names like Benjamin Franklin, Mother Teresa, Susan B. Anthony, Mahatma Gandhi, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Desmond Tutu, and many other people throughout time. None of them were Presidents or Kings or Queens, but all of them have shifted the world we live in today.
As I watch coverage of the 2008 election, I think of all the quality people who are seeking the highest office in America. Only one of them will win in November, so what happens with the rest of them? Likely they will go back to being Senators, Representatives, and some of them will just stay candidates for the next time it comes around. I think what this country and this world need now are more people who are willing to use their ideas, their “power” and their abilities to step into the roles of world-changers. I think we live in a cynical time where we distrust a celebrity or politician who wants to use their voice to speak for others. That’s an us problem and shouldn’t deter great people from stepping up. I’m sure the cynics were rough on Susan B. Anthony and we know how they treated MLK.
Immediately I think of people like Al Gore, Bill Gates, Bono, even George Clooney. They seem to be using what influence they have whether it is money, celebrity or political clout to take on their issues. Al Gore has been outspoken in his crusade to improve our environment, you may not agree with everything he says, but you can respect his effort. Bono has been outspoken against many things in his career, but lately his focus has been on AIDS, hunger and poverty in Africa. Bill Gates is walking away from Microsoft later this year to go full time with his foundation that ambitiously is going after the issue of world health. George Clooney has been trying for years to get America to listen to Darfur’s cries. And these 4 guys are just a few that come to mind immediately. With the grassroots support we’ve seen in this election for a Ron Paul or Barack Obama or John Edwards, they have an incredible chance to take on a role in history if they aren’t selected to represent their party or their country. I believe we live in a time that needs more people and less government stepping in to fight against hunger, world health, intolerance, human rights, liberty (whether democratic or not) and squabbles between countries that lead to war. So my challenge to these candidates and the question I would ask if given the chance: If you don’t win the nomination or the presidency, how will you continue to change the world? I think the answers would not only pave the way for a great post election lifestyle, but also give you a pretty good idea of what they would be like as a president.